Information for policyholders and agents


If you are a commercial property owner, holiday stress can overtake the good tidings when faced with potential hazards that imperil your occupants or pose financial loss. Here are 5 tips on safeguarding your property to help ensure It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year this holiday season – not a Nightmare Before Christmas.

#1 Exercise Fire Safety: Because Yule logs and menorahs should be the only things burning this holiday season

Previously in our blog, we discussed general fire safety tips. Below are some additional, holiday-centric tips to implement this season.

  • Place Christmas trees at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, heat vents and candles. The NFPA estimates 1 in 4 tree fires are caused by proximity to a heat source.
  • Keep Christmas trees hydrated and dispose of them when they become dry.
  • Look for decorations made of fire retardant material and avoid using decorations with open flames. The NFPA reports that candles start FPA estimates57% of December home fires.
  • Avoid placing building decorations near fire sprinklers and alarms.
  • Turn off decorations when nobody is in the building.
  • Ten percent of fireworks-related fires occur on or around New Year’s Day. Please follow these best practices from the National Safety Council.

#2 Practice Responsible Electrical Usage: Because Clark Griswold taught us a valuable lesson about circuit overload

Improper use of Christmas lights, electric menorahs, lawn ornaments and other décor can pose risk for injury or electrical fire. Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi) provides a wealth of guidance for electrical safety over the holidays, including the following tips:

  • Do not overload electrical sockets.
  • Do not overuse extension cords and adapters. Ensure extension cords are properly rated for intended use (indoor vs outdoor) and exceed your power needs.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands that can be safely connected.
  • Inspect any cords for frayed wires or loose connections.
  • Utilize Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (ACFI) outlets.

#3 Protect and Monitor Pipes: Because cold weather can burst more than your champagne bubble

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) reports frozen pipes as a leading source of property damage during winter weather. November’s Arctic plunge impacting the eastern United States included freezing temperatures in Texas and Louisiana, demonstrating that even southern property owners should prepare for this winter peril.

Steps to avoid frozen pipes listed by the IBHS include:

  • Seal openings such as windows, doors and penetrations for utility service lines.
  • Let faucets drip to prevent freezing and relieve pressure build-up.
  • Let faucets drip to prevent freezing and relieve pressure build-up.
  • Insulate pipes.
  • Utilize technology to avoid or detect broken pipes early, which may include sprinkler monitoring systems and smart water-shutoff valves.
  • Invest in a generator for uninterrupted power and heat to the building.

#4 Check Public Spaces: Because too much spiked apple cider can lead to accidents

Holiday parties can mean increased use of property common spaces, and often include alcohol consumption – both of which may increase the risk for property damage and/or bodily injury. Property owners can take these steps to protect tenants and their property during the holiday season:

  • Do not block exits or high-traffic areas with Christmas trees or other décor.
  • Ensure adequate lighting of any public spaces or pathways.
  • Properly place and secure any electrical cables to avoid trip hazards.

#5 Ensure Your Coverage Is Up-to-Date: Because Rudolf makes the occasional rough landing

As you look ahead to the New Year, it may be time to conduct an inventory of your commercial insurance policy to ensure its coverages continue to meet your needs. For example, did you erect any additional structures or introduce new shared-use facilities on your property in 2019?

Talk to your AmCap Insurance agent today to discuss your needs and help us ensure we have your commercial property covered, from rooftop to foundation and everything in between.